Saturday, 27 September 2014

The real story behind Facebook 'likes'

There might not be much point paying for Facebook ads or "like farms" to increase the page followings of companies or campaigns, a new study has found.


If Facebook likes are anything to go by, Shakira is the world’s favourite person (closely followed by Cristiano Ronaldo and Eminem), Coca-Cola is the world’s top brand, Vin Diesel is more loved than Harry Potter and the Yes campaign won in the Scottish independence referendum.
At least one of those things is not true. In fact, when it comes to Facebook likes, quantity is no indication of quality - or even reality - according to new research from University College London and other institutions.
In what the MIT Technology Review called “the first systematic investigation into the nature of like farms and how they operate,” researchers found that the likes paid for by companies to boost their Facebook followings are likely to be fake, even the ones that are real aren’t worth much, and there’s no indication that any of them are human.
The findings suggest that Facebook might not be an ideal medium for effective advertising, and could have implications for the social network's targeted adverts and promotion sales.

The method
The researchers set up 13 content-less Facebook pages about virtual electricity. Each page included the description, “This is not a real page, so please do not like it.” These pages were split into two groups, with five in one and eight in the other.
They bought Facebook ads to promote the first group, targeting each page at users in a different region (the US, France, India, Egypt and worldwide) at a total cost of $90 over 15 days. They used like-generating services -,, and, which charged up to $190 for 1000 likes over the fortnight - to build the following of the other eight pages, targeting users in the US and worldwide.
The results
The genuine Facebook ads were successful at targeting users in the specified regions, although the majority of the worldwide campaign’s near-500 likes were based in India. The Indian and Egyptian pages also garnered more than 500 likes, while the American and French pages got fewer than 50.

However, the users who liked these fake pages also liked between 600 and 1,000 other pages - considerably more than the average Facebook user’s 40 liked pages, suggesting that targeted promotions attract a certain type of user who is less discriminate with their clicking. 

The pay-for-likes services were more successful in building page followings, mostly gaining between 700 and 1,000 likes - but instead of a gradual growth, the number of likes increased in “large bursts”, jumping by hundreds in just a few hours, after which there was not one new like. These likes were therefore more likely to be fake profiles operated by automated bots, the researchers said.

The conclusion
Although the study was conducted on a small scale, its findings show that a lot of the Facebook likes that companies pay for are fake - despite the social network's attempts to detect and remove false accounts - and even the real ones do not necessarily constitute an engaged following.
“Since our honeypot pages both for Facebook and like farm campaigns explicitly indicated they were not “real”, we argue that a vast majority of the garnered likes are fake,” the researchers concluded.
Facebook has processes in place to protect its users from fake profiles, checking more than 25bn actions a day.
“We stress that our findings do not necessarily imply that advertising on Facebook is ineffective, since our campaigns were specifically designed to avert real users,” they added. “However, our work provides strong evidence that likers attracted on our honeypot pages, even when using legitimate Facebook campaigns, are significantly different from typical Facebook users.”

Source : the Telegraph


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Apple unveiled iphone 6 and iphone 6 plus

Apple unveiled iphone 6 and iphone 6 plus

At today’s event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, Calif., Apple announced two new sizes of iPhone As per rumors we’ve been seeing since early this year, the new models come in 4.7- and 5.5-inch versions, making this the first iPhone announcement in which Apple has announced more than one device size at a time.
These new devices, known as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, respectively. They’ve both got higher resolution screens than the iPhone 5s, which Apple is calling Retina HD. The iPhone 6 Plus in particular sports a much higher pixel density, packing in a 1080p display:
While both of the new iPhones have a new mode called ‘reachability’ which allows you to ‘double touch’ (not tap) the home button to bring the interface down within reach of your thumb, the iPhone 6 Plus has a swipe mode that allows you to navigate many apps by swiping left and right from the edges of the screen.

As with the iPhone 6 (and probably whatever iPads are announced next month), the new phones are both powered by the A8 system-on-a-chip, the latest in Apple’s line of custom-designed processor packages. The A8 has 2 billion transistors, double the amount in last year’s A7. Apple claims that the A8 is 50% more efficient than the A7 while 25% more powerful in general tasks and 50% faster in graphics rendering performance.
As with last year’s model, the new chip contains a low-power motion processor for collecting movement data without draining your battery and a “security enclave” for verifying your thumbprint without exposing that data to hacking. In addition to those features, the A8 now includes an Apple-designed image signal processor that allows for faster autofocus, local tone mapping, and noise reduction. The camera app now includes a ‘cinematic’ stabilization mode which will likely crop and auto-center your video images.
The iPhone 6 Plus will have one additional feature in its camera: optical image stabilization, meaning there’s hardware dedicated to keeping your photos from getting blurry from movement:
While the bigger screen obviously uses more power to operate than the smaller screen on the iPhone 6, the 6 Plus can hold a bigger battery. The net result is greater battery life across the board — you’ll get a few more hours of call time and web browsing on the 5.5-inch iPhone than either the iPhone 6 proper or last year’s iPhone 5s:

Source :

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Top 7 Technology Trends Dominating 2014

Late last year, I made some predictions where for I saw technology going in 2014. If you missed the post, you can find it here: The Top 7 Technology Trends That Will Dominate 2014.
Covering everything from ‘smart’ technology – glasses, watches and TVs in particular – to the emergence of natural language search, to trends in gaming, the article contained some hits and some misses. In this article, we’ll take a look at the predictions I made, and assess how those predictions have turned out so far.
1. Consumers will come to expect Smart TV capabilities
In my original post, I speculated that we may see the launch of Apple’s much-anticipated iTV as early as summer 2014. Although there has been no official word from Apple on this product, many experts believe it’s only a matter of time before Apple makes the move into the Smart TV market.
In an interview with his biographer, Steve Jobs was quoted as saying he finally “cracked the code” for breaking into the TV market; and this is perhaps where rumors of the so-called iTV originated. He said, “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. It will have the simplest use interface you could imagine.
Many are now speculating, however, that this new product will be a seriously upgraded version of Apple TV, rather than a stand-alone smart TV. In fact, when biographer Walter Isaacson was asked (after Jobs’ passing) how close Apple was to developing a smart TV, he replied, “They weren’t close at all. He told me it was very theoretical. These were theoretical things they were thinking about in the future.”
In any case, smart TVs continue to dominate the marketplace. According to recent research by Parks Associates, smart TV sales show no sign of slowing down; in fact, according to the report, over 1/3 of American broadband households now own a smart TV, and nearly two-thirds of people shopping for a flat-panel TV in 2014 are purchasing smart.  They also found that among smart TV sales, Samsung is leading the pack.
2. Smart watches will become ‘smarter’
The concept of smart watches still appears to be one on which people are highly divided. According to research by News Republic, consumers worldwide appear to be split evenly when it comes to the desire to wear one (although respondents from Spain came in highest with 7 out of every 10 being pro-smart watch).
Earlier this year, Google got in on the smart watch game by announcing its foray into wearable technology, which they’ve named ‘Android Wear’. The software, a completely mobile version of Android’s operating system, will be incorporated into smart watches which will be offered by various big brands.
The watches (which are currently only available to the public by pre-order) will allow users access via voice control (“OK Google”), along with all the features you’d expect, like email and text. Health and fitness features are also incorporated; these will be particularly useful for watches with built-in pedometers and heart rate monitors.
Apple is also rumored to be on the brink of announcing its “iWatch,” a smart watch which will run iOS and facilitate phone calls, email, Internet browsing, and texting. Rumors are that it will also be voice-controlled, and may be announced in early September 2014.
3. Google Glass will still be in “wait and see” mode
As predicted, Google Glass still hasn’t hit the market, although it’s expected you should be able to pick up a the smart glass sometime later this year or early in 2015. Opinions are still split on whether the technology will ever be truly useful and adopted into the mainstream.  Up until now, the glasses have only been available to product testers at a cost of around $1,500 per unit. According to Google, the price tag will be lower once it’s released to the general public.
Google isn’t the only one with the smart glass technology, however; it has been rumored that Samsung will be releasing its own version – known as ‘Gear Glass’ – as early as this September.
4. Other applications and uses for Apple’s TouchID will emerge

In my previous article, I predicted that Apple’s TouchID technology would expand access so it could be used in other products – not just the iPhone. At WWDC2014, Apple’s Developers Conference, it was announced that TouchID technology would be available to all developers.
AgileBits (developer of the popular 1Password app) is already taking advantage of this by using TouchID to allow users to unlock the app, as well as to log in to third party apps. This feature will be part of its update for iOS 8. Of course, we’ll have to wait a couple months to access these features, as the release of iOS8 is currently only available in beta to developers.
5. Xbox One and PS4 will blur the lines between entertainment and video gaming
Sales of the Xbox One and PS4 continue to grow, especially since Microsoft lowered the price of the Xbox One to match the price of the PS4. While some originally criticized the fact that the Xbox One would need to have a constant Internet connection to function, this turned out not to be the case when Microsoft rescinded that requirement.
Rather than the simple gaming systems of yesteryear, these offer so much more: Voice control, program guide, universal remote, and an emphasis on social game play. These features contribute to making these systems the complete home entertainment hub many had predicted. According to Brittney Brombacher, video game journalist and expert from, “I’m seeing families buying Xbox One and PS4 and using them not only for playing family games, but also to provide entertainment for family nights in general. Kids, moms, and grandmas alike can enjoy these systems for much more than just video games. These systems are definitely ringing in a new generation of entertainment.”
6. 3D Printing will begin to revolutionize production

I predicted that the rise in popularity, along with the drop in pricing of 3D printers would move product production closer to home. The recent opening of retail store Normal shows just how on point this prediction was. The company, which produces custom 3D printed earphones, will allow consumers to upload pictures of their ears (or have pictures taken in-store), and then receive custom-fitted earphones within 48 hours.
It’s not only retailers who are utilizing the technology, however: since the debut of the world’s first 3D food printer, the US Army is in the initial stages of making plans to use the technology for producing food for its troops. 3D food printers are already being used overseas to print food for the residents of retirement communities: printing food that looks and tastes like food, but has the consistency of puree and thus decreases the choking risk.
Amazing stuff!
7. The movement toward natural language search will make search more accurate and intuitive
I predicted last year that spoken, natural language search – such as ‘Where’s the closest café’ – would continue to overtake keyword-based, typed searches like ‘café Seattle’.
However, according to Google’s director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, we are only seeing the beginning of how computers (and Google) will eventually see and understand content:  “[M]y project is ultimately to base search on really understanding what the language means. When you write an article you’re not creating an interesting collection of words. You have something to say and Google is devoted to intelligently organising and processing the world’s information. The message in your article is information, and the computers are not picking up on that. So we would like to actually have the computers read. We want them to read everything on the web and every page of every book, then be able to engage an intelligent dialogue with the user to be able to answer their questions.”
With the introduction late last year of Google’s Hummingbird alorithm, Google showed that it was serious about using their Knowledge Graph to more accurately anticipate what searchers want to know – often without even having to say it.
What are your thoughts on the outcomes of these predictions? What other technology trends do you see shaping up in 2014? Share with us in the comments below!

Amazon Is Turning Into Google

A company that...
  • Has its own mobile operating system for tablets and smartphones.
  • Has its own app store.
  • Sells digital music, books, movies, and TV shows.
  • Will soon have an online ad network.
  • Created a way to accept payments with a smartphone.
  • Owns the servers that act as the backbone for several major apps and startups and even parts of the CIA.
  • Is experimenting with drones.
It's not Google. It's Amazon.
But just like Google has expanded beyond search into everything from finding ways to cheat death to making cars that can drive themselves, Amazon has been increasingly expanding beyond its core e-commerce business.
And in recent months, that only seems to be speeding up.
Amazon's $970 million purchase of Twitch, a site that lets you watch people play video games via a live stream, is its latest push into original video content and a move to transform itself into part media company. It's a longer-term bet that the trend of watching stuff online versus cable will continue.
Add that on top of the stuff listed above, and Amazon suddenly sounds less like an online store for buying books and gifts and more like a company trying to insert itself into everything you do online. It sounds very Google-y.
Plus ...
There's experimentation with same-day delivery, grocery delivery, and point of sale systems for brick-and-mortar retailers. Those are all things Google is working on or has at least experimented with.
The only difference, of course, is that Google is wildly profitable while Amazon continues to post losses each quarter. (Next quarter could be a doozy. Amazon said to expect at least a $410 million operating loss.)
But it's also a changing company, one that's no longly simply "the everything store," but an entity creeping its way into everything we do from shop to play games to run our small businesses.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

Source : Business Insider India